Real Madrid produced another victory to continue their fine start to the 2022-23 season, winning the 1st leg of Round 2 of UEFA Women’s Champions League qualifying against Norwegian club Rosenborg BK Kvinner. Caroline Weir notched a brace and Athenea del Castillo scored a stunning goal.
As expected, Real Madrid dominated proceedings, having the lion’s share of possession. Alberto Toril fielded an asymmetric 4-2-3-1 formation with Sandie Toletti and Freja Olofsson playing as a double pivot. The team implemented a high block. Caroline Weir started on the right wing, but would drift centrally to overload the midfield and exploit her strengths as an attacking midfielder, often creating a 2-2 midfield structure with Claudia Zornoza, who largely operated in the left half-space.
Weir opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a powerful left-footed effort. Athenea’s brilliance then made it 2-0 for the visitors. Weir got herself on the scoresheet yet again to land the hammer blow to Rosenborg in the 52nd minute. All in all, it was a good team performance.
Full player ratings below:
GK: Misa Rodríguez — 6/10: Another game where Misa’s services were required only a few times. She had the least touches out of all players on the pitch.
RB: Kenti Robles — 8.5/10: A captain’s performance from the Mexican. She was heavily involved in the pressing and was sharp in her defensive duels. Didn’t contribute much going forward, but still possessed a lot of threat whenever she did have the ball at her feet in the opponent’s half.
RCB: Kathellen Sousa — 8/10: The Brazilian centre back continues to shine for Real Madrid. Her positional awareness was on show again and again as she cut out passing lanes and made crucial interceptions, especially in the second half. Her passing, however, left a bit to be desired.
LCB: Rocío Gálvez — 7/10: The new #4 of Real Madrid had a good showing after coming back into the XI. She did make a few errors at the back, with one such error almost gifting Rosenborg a chance to score in the first half.
LB: Sofie Svava — 7.5/10: Another promising performance from the Danish left back. She was very agile and her work-rate was commendable at times. Given Real Madrid’s high-octane intensity, she found herself winning balls in the middle of the pitch at times. She was decent in attack and formed a good partnership with Athenea, timing her overlaps well.
RDM: Sandie Toletti — 7.5/10: After failing to dominate the midfield against Valencia in Liga F, Toletti returned to her usual standards and helped Las Blancas wipe Rosenborg’s midfield off the pitch. Her defending was on point and she formed a good partnership with Freja Olofsson in the double pivot. Assisted Athenea’s goal.
LDM: Freja Siri — 7/10: A very good debut from the midfielder. She looked comfortable both on and off the ball, and played well as an anchor.
CAM/LDM: Claudia Zornoza — 7.5/10: Zornoza continued her good form, playing the whole 90 minutes — this time, in a more advanced role. She is definitely the best midfielder in the team at the moment. She showed a lot of composure on the ball when being hounded by several players, while her passing was effective too.
RW/RAM: Caroline Weir — 9/10: Weir continues to justify her hype as a Galáctica. She has now scored 3 goals in 3 appearances in the UWCL. She operated in the right half-space, sometimes sticking to the wing but drifting inside for the majority of the game. She scored a goal in each half and was creatively involved too. Her pressing was impressive.
LW: Athenea del Castillo — 9/10: Athenea’s dazzling performances do not surprise me anymore. She is turning into a world beater and once again made the defenders dance to her tune in an enigmatic display. She scored a splendid goal, receiving the ball on the edge of the box, cutting inside, leaving a few defenders flummoxed, and then finding the bottom left corner with an accurate shot. She also assisted both of Weir’s goals.
ST: Esther González — 6/10: Esther drew a blank for the second game in a row, which is very unlike her given the standards she has set for herself.
CAM: Maite Oroz — 6/10 (replaced Olofsson; 62’): Not a very lively display off the bench, but still did the basics well and continues to get minutes under her belt. Operated in an advanced role, pushing Zornoza deeper.
RDM: Teresa Abelleira — N/A (replaced Toletti; 74’): Played 19 minutes and didn’t have to do too much given the game was all but wrapped up by then.
ST: Nahikari García — N/A (replaced Esther; 74’): Her goal off the bench against Valencia must have given her a lot of confidence, but she couldn’t get very involved during her brief outing against Rosenborg.
RW: Caroline Møller Hansen — N/A (replaced Weir; 86’): Came on in order to help Weir get rest. Didn’t have enough time to make any impact.
LW: Carla Camacho — N/A (replaced Athenea; 86’): Came on in order to help Athenea del Castillo get rest. Didn’t have enough time to make any impact.
Real Madrid will host Rosenborg BK in the 2nd leg next Wednesday, September 28.